writing questions

What writing question haven’t I answered yet?

Here’s what I’ve already covered or am covering now.


None of these classes came from me sitting down and thinking, “Gee, I’m going to build a class on…”

ALL of them came from writers asking me in-depth questions about subjects I hadn’t yet covered.

So… what do you want to know that isn’t up there yet?



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19 responses to “What writing question haven’t I answered yet?”

  1. Kirsten Avatar

    Hi Holly,
    I know this is touched on as part of the big courses, but something I could really use is a focused clinic on antagonists. I have no trouble relating to my good guys, but when it comes to bad guys they always seem to come off either too sympathetic (because their motives are so plausible) or way over the top Evil, (and have no motive other than to destroy my story!)
    A clinic seems about the right size to tackle something like this and I think working on antagonists exclusively without fear of wrecking another story would be a lot of fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Holly Avatar

      Cool. That can happen. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Sean (Godel) Avatar
    Sean (Godel)

    I have written through the night, on fire.
    I have a story that shows and tells, mostly tells. It seems like the product of a much younger writer.
    And I want to move it forward. I am slowly thinking how to do so, but it has been a while. Any suggestions?

  3. Sean (Godel) Avatar
    Sean (Godel)

    I am struggling with finding a voice for my characters.
    I have slightly different idioms for each people, but the characters themsleves are harder.
    Is this covered in your character book?

    By the way, I am so happy to have found your novels. I am equally happy to have found a good and successful novelist that can teach.

    1. Holly Lisle Avatar
      Holly Lisle

      Not in depth. Idiom is one of those things that gets scattered through a number of writing classes because it hits on a lot of different things — the way people think, their cultures, the words they know, the region they live in.

      I built Language Clinic, Character Clinic, and Culture Clinic trying to get everything folks needed, and then created a Voice Intensive because a lot of folks wanted to work on JUST voice.

  4. Rebecca Avatar

    I would love love LOVE a Clinic or Course on How to Create a Magic System. Like your Language or Culture Clinics.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Good idea. Thank you.

  5. Laura Avatar

    Hi Holly. I’d like to know your approach to outlining.

  6. Hope Avatar

    One I would like that I thought you were working on but I’m not sure what became of it is recognizing and building the “writer’s voice”. And maybe a spin off question is how to make character’s voices distinct if you’re writing a multi 1st person POV book?

    1. Holly Avatar

      This one is actually done and live:
      24-Hour Intensive: Find Your Writing Voice

  7. Christine Avatar

    I have to agree that I’d love to see something on short stories, specifically the 1500-7500 word range. I’ve taken your flash fiction course, which was great, but I just prefer to write longer than that. My problem is that ideas I have start to get complicatedly LONGER…as in novel length. And many of them are characters and ideas that I’d be happy to spend a week or two on, but not necessarily the amount of time it would take to complete a novel.

    I just end up adding too many layers to the characters, their motivations, their backstory, the world…and then I end up giving up on the idea because I can’t figure out how to contain it in short story format. Not sure if that’s interesting to you, or even something that’s easily teachable, but that’s my biggest sticking point right now.

    It’s even derailing me on the HTWAS right now, since I’d love to write a series of short stories, not a collection of novels. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Holly Avatar

      I’ve had a lot of folks ask for this. It’s now on my list.

  8. Tuff Gartin Avatar
    Tuff Gartin

    Hi Holly,

    One thing that I would find extremely helpful is a book regarding “Writing as a Business”. During Fall 2016 I decided to take my writing to the next level and make it a business. I’m just now on the back end of getting everything in place for me to be able to start asking for email subscribers. I know you mention several aspects of this in HTTS. And the software recommendations were a huge jump start for me. Yet, I still had to learn these tools, and I still had to figure out which step should I do first, then second, then third. It was all so new to me. I became very overwhelmed and it slowed me down for several weeks. Plus, not everyone is fortunate enough to take HTTS.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking you to write a book explain how to setup AWeber, how to use Affinty software to develop covers, or how to use any other software that might be needed in setting up a writing business. But I know that having an organized tasks list in front of me ahead of time would have had two benefits: (1) it would have prevented me from getting bogged down because of having an organized step-by-step task list, and (2) it would have mentally prepared me for what I had to tackle.

    Beyond getting started as an indie writer entrepreneur, there will also be day-to-day tasks that I need to consider and make sure I balance properly with my writing. I know you have a ton of experience that you could share with writers about that, and have done so in various emails and posts. If you were to incorporate that knowledge into one book that focused specifically on the business aspects of writing, and how to fit it into your schedule so that it doesn’t bog down your writing/revising time, I know I would find that extremely helpful.

    I understand that there may not be some definitive times when certain things need to happen. But understanding how you do it, and what other alternatives to consider along with the pros and cons of each alternative would simply be an invaluable resource for me.

    And as always, thank you so much for sharing your writing knowledge with us. You have been a tremendous influence on me already, and I will forever be appreciative of that!


    1. Holly Avatar

      This might work better as an intensive workshop…


      I might be able to put this together.

  9. Chalan Johnson Avatar

    So I have two things that I would really like help with.

    1) How to make or keep ideas small, yet good. I’ve taken the flash fiction course, but I faltered while working through it, because the ideas I came up with, always ended up feeling too big. I couldn’t figure out how to contain them to tell a short story. I love the process, but I’m not sure how to minimize the idea.

    2) I have done many of your courses. I’m in HTWAS right now. I have plot/culture/world/language/character/mugging the muse and I’ve been on this site for 14ish years. I have a bunch of Ideas. I’ll get to them. But I don’t understand how they manifest. Sometimes I work back to the moment when I came up with the idea and why, but I’ve never been able to sit down with any of the courses and just punch out an Idea. Even with World building. I find that I’ll take a world or story I don’t yet know much about and be working on that rather than creating anew as the book recommends. I’m not sure if this is something that you teach in HTTS. But In HTWAS, As I started in the it, when it came to the brainstorm storm phase, I already had an idea for a short story that id been thinking about for some time. So my question I guess is if you have a class or can you do a class, that specifically targets having literally no idea about anything and forming one. I know the world building kind of has this. The starting in a dark room thing, which I think is one great way, but I feel like there could be many more ways to start an idea, I’m just not sure what all they may be. That nothing that becomes an idea, that’s what I’d most like to know.

    1. Holly Avatar

      “Iโ€™m not sure if this is something that you teach in HTTS.”

      This is the core of How to Think Sideways.

      Class description is here.

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